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Hardship policies should be a standard rule

29/08/2019 / by admin

Credit card statements, water, phone and energy bills, mortgage repayments, council ratesand exorbitant rental fees.
Nanjing Night Net

Cr Loretta Baker.

How can low-income householders possibly get ahead?

Maitland councillor Loretta Baker’s quest to promote council’s ratehardship policy could not have come at a better time.

Introduced in 2014, Cr Baker said the not so widely known policy wasthere to help Maitland’s battlers and was implemented to help householders cope with the urban rate rise.

The council pushed ahead with plans in December 2013 to increase rateswith a unanimous vote but one of the provisos was to review the debt recovery and hardship policy.

The average urban land rates were set to climbfrom $986 to $1796 in 2020-21, based on an average land value of $148,000, if the independent pricing and regulatory tribunal should decide to uphold the increase.

Areport found the proposed urban rate rise would be 1.1 per cent of total household expenditure in 2020-21 and up to 2.52 per cent of the annual budget of people on government support.

Under the debt recovery and hardship policy council will issue a reminder letter if rates are not paid within seven days of the due date.The reminder notice will advise that the recovery of the rates and charges may be referred to council’s debt collection agency if the overdue amount is not paid in full within seven days.

At the end of that seven days council will refer all assessments where the amount overdue is greater than $450 to its debt collection agency, unless the ratepayer makes alternative arrangements.

Cr Baker is encouraging residents struggling to pay rates to ring council and start a payment plan.Shesaid increasing energy charges, rents and the high cost of living in general hadmany families struggling to make ends meet.She said this coupled with no wage growth was cripplinglow-income householders.

Fairfax Media brought you the story last week of Mother Moira Evers who has started a program in her parish to feed the less fortunate including some families who live in cars.She’s finding it hard to keep up with the demand.

People are struggling and helpful incentives like Maitland Council’s hardship policy should be standard acrossall service providers.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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